This page contains archived information and may not display perfectly

ETCC - 2015 Race of Belgium - Preview

More exciting action expected as the ETCC heads to Zolder

Less than two weeks after Brno delivered action, overtaking and grandstand finishes aplenty, the FIA European Touring Car Cup resumes at Zolder in Belgium from 18-20 September with a brace of 13 lap counters on the bill.

A new venue for the modern-era ETCC, Zolder nevertheless possesses a rich motorsport heritage and offers a significant challenge to boot. With the FIA European Truck Racing Championship also on the timetable, an exciting weekend of on-track entertainment awaits.

While there are no Belgian drivers currently racing in the ETCC, neighbouring Germany and Luxembourg will both be represented at Zolder. In fact, the Luxembourg challenge has doubled in number with Ben Lintgen set for the ultimate job swap by turning from Gilles Bruckner’s mechanic to his compatriot’s team-mate for his ETCC return in a Ford Fiesta.

Lintgen, 21, raced in the ETCC at Spa-Francorchamps last season and Bruckner explained why he’s making a comeback with Team Luxmotor. “He’s one of my best friends and is also my mechanic,” said Bruckner, the reigning ETCC Super 1600 champion. “He bought my old Fiesta and made a guest start last year at Spa. Now he’s back again for Zolder.”

Despite a successful 2014, Bruckner’s 2015 ETCC campaign hasn’t quite gone to plan. Heading to Zolder, the professional gardener is 34 points behind Niklas Mackschin in third position. “This year is not a good year,” said Bruckner, who last raced at Zolder in 2004 and lives 220 kilometres from the venue. “We have many problems with the car and the settings – it doesn’t feel like my car.”

With four events run, the title battles in the class-based ETCC remain wide open with two races at Zolder plus the double-points finale in Pergusa, Sicily next month.

TC2T: No stopping Kajaia Davit Kajaia continued his domination of the TC2T category with another brace of wins at Brno last time out. And the Georgian came close to winning race two outright. With Aytaç Biter not competing in Belgium, fellow Turks Ümit Ülkü and Galip Atar will be looking to move ahead in the standings.

TC2: Matĕjovsky marches on Like Davit Kajaia, Czech and fellow BMW racer Michal Matĕjovsky is the man to beat in his category and heads to Zolder on a high following his home class double at Brno. Experienced Swiss Peter Rikli struggled with car set-up issues in Czech Republic but remains 20 points ahead of Turkey’s Ibrahim Okyay in the standings. Rikli’s team-mate and protégé Daniel Conrad will continue to build his experience of ETCC action and his Honda Civic.

S1600: Can maestro Mackschin be tamed? Niklas Mackschin continued to underline his potential with a winning double in Czech Republic. And with close rival Ulrike Krafft crashing out of race two, Mackschin has opened up a 27-point lead over his fellow German. Erwin Lukas was prevented from racing at Brno after crashing his Fiesta in testing. Ben Lintgen will make his ETCC return when he teams up with fellow Luxembourg driver Gilles Bruckner.

SMT: Hopes high for Homola With Dušan Borković seemingly pulling clear in the Single Make Trophy battle, Slovakian Mato Homola’s first victory of the season in round seven came just at the right time, even though Borković actually headed home to his native Serbia with an increased championship advantage following a troubled weekend for Czech Petr Fulín. Andreas Pfister (Germany) and Ronny Jost (Switzerland) also impressed at Brno.

OVERVIEW: In total, 19 drivers will contest the two ETCC races at Zolder, which measures 4.011 kilometres and is located close to the city of Hasselt in the province of Limburg in northwest Belgium.

Following testing on Friday and Free Practice and Qualifying on Saturday, Sunday’s opening race gets underway with a rolling start at 12h50 local time. Race two is due to begin with a standing start at 15h05. Both races will be run over 13 laps. A proportion of the huge season-long prize fund of 250,000 euros, which has been established in conjunction with the ETCC’s tyre partner Yokohama, will be shared out to the successful drivers.


Friday 18 September: 14h35-15h20: Testing 1; 16h30-17h15: Testing 2.

Saturday 19 September: 10h00-10h30: Free Practice; 15h00-15h30: Qualifying; 15h35: Post-qualifying press conference.

Sunday 20 September: 10h30-10h45: Warm-up; 12h50-13h15: Race 1 (13 laps, rolling start); 15h05-15h30: Race 2 (13 laps, standing start); 15h40: Podium; Postrace press conference: 16h00.

STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 08/12: TC2T: 1 Davit Kajaia (92pts); 2 Aytaç Biter (58); 3 Ümit Ülkü (57); 4 Galip Atar (44). TC2: 1 Michal Matĕjovsky (88); 2 Peter Rikli (70); 3 Ibrahim Okyay (50); 4 Daniel Conrad (37); S1600: 1 Niklas Mackschin (89); 2 Ulrike Krafft (62); 3 Gilles Bruckner (55); 4 Florian Hildner (31); 5 Erwin Lukas (11); 6 Christian Kranenberg (5). Single Make Trophy: 1 Dušan Borković (76); 2 Mato Homola (54); 3 Petr Fulín (51); 3 Andreas Pfister (46); 5 Ronny Jost (34); 6 Dejan Bulatović (20); 7 Ferenc Ficza (18); 8 Mladen Lalusic (15); 9 Alexandr Artemyez (6); 10 Norbert Toth (5).
Go to to view the full standings

STATISTICS AFTER ROUND 08/12: TC2T: Race wins: Davit Kajaia 8; Pole positions: Davit Kajaia 4; Fastest laps: Davit Kajaia 8. TC2: Race wins: Michal Matĕjovsky 6; Peter Rikli 2; Pole positions: Michal Matĕjovsky 4; Fastest laps: Michal Matĕjovsky 8. S1600: Race wins: Niklas Mackschin 7; Ulrike Krafft 1; Pole positions: Niklas Mackschin 3; Ulrike Krafft 1; Fastest laps: Niklas Mackschin 6; Ulrike Krafft 2. Single Make Trophy: Race wins: Dušan Borković 4; Ferenc Ficza, Petr Fulín, Mato Homola and Andreas Pfister 1; Pole positions: Dušan Borković 2; Petr Fulín and Mato Homola 1; Fastest laps: Dušan Borković 4; Dejan Bulatović, Ferenc Ficza, Petr Fulín, Mato Homola 1.

ZOLDER IN SHORT: Once the home of the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix, Zolder hosts the penultimate round of the 2015 FIA ETCC, having been used as the venue of WTCC Race of Belgium in 2010 and 2011. Opening in 1963 as the country’s first permanent race circuit, Zolder will forever be associated with the death of the legendary Gilles Villeneuve, who died from injuries sustained in an accident while qualifying for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix. And while F1 has long since stopped coming to the track, it remains a popular – and challenging – venue for national and international car, bike and truck races.